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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: -2°C
Andrew Harnik The remarks came during a meeting yesterday with French President Emmanuel Macron.
# Ukraine War
Kremlin rejects Biden's offer to talk with Putin if he intends to end war in Ukraine
The American leader made such talks conditional on support by Nato allies.

LAST UPDATE | Dec 2nd 2022, 2:51 PM

THE KREMLIM HAS rejected US President Joe Biden’s terms for Ukraine talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, saying Moscow’s offensive will continue.

“What did President Biden say in fact? He said that negotiations are possible only after Putin leaves Ukraine,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding Moscow was “certainly” not ready to accept those conditions.

“The special military operation is continuing,” Peskov said, using the Kremlin term for the assault on Ukraine.

Biden indicated he would be willing to talk with Vladimir Putin if the Russian leader demonstrated that he seriously wanted to end the invasion in Ukraine.

But the American leader made such talks conditional on support by Nato allies.

“I’m prepared to speak with Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding that he’s looking for a way to end the war,” Biden said. “He hasn’t done that yet.”

The comments came during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday where both leaders vowed to maintain a united front against Russia.

Biden honoured Macron with a grand state dinner on Thursday evening, the first of the US president’s Covid-19-shadowed presidency for a foreign leader.

It comes as senior Ukrainian military chiefs said more than 10,000 of the country’s soldiers have been killed in the country’s nine-month struggle against Russia’s invasion – far below recent casualty estimates from Western leaders.

The figure emerged as Russian forces kept up rocket attacks on infrastructure and air strikes against Ukrainian troop positions along the contact line, the Ukrainian military said.

Officials added that Moscow’s push has focused on a dozen towns including Bakhmut and Avdiivka – key targets for Russia in the east.

Late on Thursday, Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, relayed new figures about Ukrainian soldiers killed in battle, while noting that the number of injured troops was higher and civilian casualty counts were “significant”.

He told Channel 24: “We have official figures from the general staff, we have official figures from the top command, and they amount to between 10,000 and 12,500-13,000 killed.”

The Ukrainian military has not confirmed such figures, and it marks a rare instance of a Ukrainian official providing them.

The last count dates back to late August, when the head of the armed forces said that nearly 9,000 military personnel had been killed.

In June, Mr Podolyak said that up to 200 soldiers were dying each day, in some of the most intense fighting and bloodshed this year.

On Wednesday, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union’s executive Commission, said 100,000 Ukrainian troops had been killed before her office corrected her comments – calling them inaccurate and saying that the figure referred to both killed and injured.

Last month, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that as many as 40,000 Ukrainian civilians and “well over” 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded in the war so far.

He added that it was the “same thing probably on the Ukrainian side”.

The UN human rights office, in its latest weekly update, said it had recorded 6,655 civilians killed and 10,368 injured, but has acknowledged that its tally includes only casualties that it has confirmed and likely far understates the actual toll.

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